In Minas Gerais, an initiative involves different actors to promote sustainable landscapes and the conservation of native vegetation
by Luana Luizy, Communication Advisor, International Education Institute of Brazil
Companion that is part of the daily lives of thousands of people worldwide, the coffee it is a product of strong expression in world culture. In Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais stands out in the production of this grain, being, today, one of the largest international exporters. Thus, the coffee activity needs to be developed with an environmental balance between fauna and flora.
Thus, coffee production is of no use without thinking about the sustainability, since this product requires a balance between a series of environmental factors, which permeate a soil rich in nutrients and strong irrigation for the cultivation of this grain. Climate threats today represent a threat to their cultivation.
Based on this, the Cerrado das Águas Consortium (CCA) emerged in 2019, with the goal of involve different actors in the coffee production chain on a collaborative platform to restore native vegetation and monitor the quality of water in rivers and soils, in order to guarantee sustainable coffee production and efficient management of water resources in the region of the mining triangle. Representatives of cooperatives, NGOs and large companies, such as Nespresso, and Lavazza, participate in the Consortium.
The objective of bringing these different actors together was to ensure resilience to climate change that interfere in hydrographic basins, restore the provision of ecosystem services, from the strengthening ecological corridors - “Areas that join fragments of native vegetation or protected areas that are separated by human interference” -, and promote positive impacts on the Cerrado of Minas Gerais.
The rural producer, Ricardo Bartholo, one of the beneficiaries of the CCA project, comments that the initiative strengthens the availability of water in Córrego Feio & #8211; source that supplies the population and is also used for agricultural activities in the municipality of Patrocínio, in Minas Gerais.
“The Consortium has brought a more objective view for us producers. It is great to see large companies aware of sustainability in coffee production. I am convinced that we will have an increase in the water supply. With that I can use more water to irrigate my coffee plantation, because today I have a limitation on the amount I can extract ”, he says.
Within the platform, companies in the coffee production chain are committed to donating a financial contribution to the maintenance and investment of river basin restoration. "We look at native vegetation, water resources, the amount of water inside the basins, the connected landscapes, the involvement and connection of producers, the institutional engagement and the local community within this collaborative platform that is the CCA", explains Fabiane Sebaio, executive director of the Cerrado das Águas Consortium.
Investing in the producer
Attention to small producer it is also one of the action axes of the Cerrado das Águas Consortium, through the Conscious Producer Investment Program (PIPC). “This program starts with a contact with the producers, so that we can talk about what the Consortium is; we explain that their property is part of the hydrographic basin, the concept of it, we make a diagnosis and a visit to the producers' property, we also suggest if we can invest in their territory, we draw up a plan; from it, we set up a workshop, where we discussed with the processes ”says Fabiane Sebaio.
The central objective of the PIPC is to establish and implement a strategy to restore provision of ecosystem services in the basin, in the long term, through a process of effective involvement with local producers and actors. The main concern of the program is the areas of native vegetation, explains Fabiane: “We need to make the producer understand that his property is within the basin and that any and all mobilization for the restoration and water quality of the basin is extremely important. We consider the engagement of the producer to be very important in this process. Where do I need to restore to be effective in this process? ”.
The program's goal was to reach 100 hectares in seven municipalities in the Minas Gerais Cerrado; one of the chosen areas, the Córrego Feio basin in Patrocínio, is where the Merganser, a bird native to the Cerrado threatened with extinction, which depends on extremely conserved aquatic environments for its survival.
Partnership with the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund
The Cerrado das Águas Consortium has the support of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) It's from Brazilian International Institute of Education (IEB) to be executed, but the greatness of the project presented a challenge: that of promote the adoption of best practices in agriculture in the Cerrado of Minas Gerais and bring together companies competing with the coffee chain, all for the same interest - the conservation of native areas and water resources in the Cerrado.
However, all the resources invested were not limited only to restoration, but also to dialogue with the producer, the development of an application that maps degraded areas, the effort to bring together competing companies in the coffee chain. Thus, CEPF resources and IEB support were fundamental in the process of building the team's methodology and investing in properties.
“In this scenario of producer engagement, it is the greatest legacy with the project to make this movement so that the producer takes more care of his property, so that there is a change in mentality about what is a sustainable farm, how I provide climate resilience, understanding that the climate brings together a series of factors and that the crops of these producers provide restoration ”explains Fabiane Sebaio.
know more about the Cerrado das Águas Consortium: http://cerradodasaguas.org.br/
 “What are Ecological Corridors”. Environmental Dictionary. ((o)) echo, Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 2014. Available at:
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.